What is a beacon?
How does it work?
How is it powered?
And where can one use it?
These are the most frequently asked beacon-related questions I find online. For this article I chose 8 questions that I will answer today.
What is a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon?
First of all, let me introduce the Leantegra beacon to you. This beacon’s name is WiBeat BLE.
Bluetooth beacons are tiny devices that broadcast the universally unique identifiers or, in other words, wireless signals, that can be captured by either smartphones and tablets or other wireless sniffers, like wireless gateways, that are located near to them.
How does a beacon work? What does a beacon do?
Ok, we have already made it clear that beacons transmit BLE signals. But what happens next – depends on the beacon technology use case.
- The BLE beacon wireless signals, when captured by a smartphone or tablet, may trigger a specific action, like open an app or show a push notification. These activities fall under the standard Proximity Marketing scenario.
- The universally unique identifier sent by a beacon may also be detected by a wireless gateway, in our case – a WiRange device to identify its current location. This is how the typical People and Asset Tracking use cases work.
- For indoor navigation scenarios, BLE beacons deploy their capability to measure the distance to the smartphone which uses a specific mobile app. So, you can imagine how a downloaded to a mobile device app sniffs the signals of at least three beacons and identifies its current indoor x,y coordinates. The mobile app interprets these coordinates and displays them as a dot on the mobile map.
- When a smartphone or a tablet captures the BLE beacon signal, the latter detects the distance to the smart device. Every time a mobile app user changes the positioning, the system remembers it. This is how it can provide information on app user behavior while in-store, as well as the most popular points of interest and their dwell time within the chosen area.
What does it have inside?
If I open up a beacon’s housing, you will see CPU, BLE chip, antenna, memory and a battery.
How do you get a beacon to work?
In order to activate a beacon all you have to do is to press the button for 4 seconds until it starts flashing. The number of flashes indicates the beacon’s mode. There are four kinds of modes that you can choose from: iBeacon, Eddystone, Hybrid, and Location Tag.
- Where iBeacon, Eddystone and Hybrid enable Proximity Marketing.
- Both the Eddystone and Hybrid modes also support the Physical Web app-less scenario.
- The iBeacon and Hybrid modes can also be used for indoor positioning, as well as collection of Proximity Location Analytics.
- And the Location Tag mode will satisfy any people or asset tracking use cases.
How do you power a beacon?
Beacons are battery-powered devices. So, all you need to know is how to replace the battery once it runs out.
How or where to get a beacon in New York City?
Just order the Proximity Demo Kit, the smallest Proximity Marketing package from our store and it will be shipped to you.
How to set up a beacon?
By setting up a beacon we understand configuring of one of the following parameters: The advertising interval, Tx power, Eddystone-URL, UID, TLM, EID, Major and Minor and others.
Of course, the Leantegra beacons go with default parameters, but if a client wants to change them – we provide a free Sandbox app that includes the remote setup functionality.
How do you use a beacon?
We’ve covered this just now, but let’s rehash. Beacons are used in the following scenarios: